30 April 2012

Pope St. Pius V

Pope St. Pius V -- Michael Ghislieri -- was born into a poor family on 17 January 1504.  He spent his childhood working as a shepherd, until he entered the Dominican Order at the age of fourteen.  His keen intelligence served well, and eventually he was ordained as a bishop, ultimately occupying the Throne of St. Peter.

St. Pius V lived in times much like our own.  The Council of Trent took place during his lifetime, and as is the case with most Councils, there was a time of confusion following.  He spent much of his life -- before his time as pope, and then until his death -- working to implement the principles of the Council, and strengthening the witness of the Catholic Church.

A very important event took place on October 7, 1571.  It is associated with Our Lady, and also with Pope St. Pius V.

For some time the Muslims had attempted to conquer Europe, not only for political reasons, but also in an attempt to destroy the Church and impose Islam throughout the known world.

On that clear October morning a huge gathering of ships appeared in the Mediterranean Sea, near the Greek port of Lepanto -- 280 Turkish ships, and 212 Christian ships. For years the Muslims had been raiding Christian areas around the Mediterranean and had carried off thousands of Christians into slavery. In fact, all of the ships gathered on that morning were powered by rowers – and the Muslim ships had nearly 15,000 Christian slaves in chains, being forced to pull the oars to guide the ships into battle. The Catholic fleet was under the command of Don Juan of Austria, but the Catholic fleet was at a great disadvantage in its power and military ability. This was a battle that would decide the fate of the world – either the Turks would be victorious and the Church destroyed, or the Catholics would be victorious and would put down the Muslim threat.

Pope St. Pius V knew the importance of victory. He called upon all of Europe to pray the rosary, asking for the intercession of Our Lady, that God would grant a Catholic victory. Although it seemed hopeless, the people prayed. Don Juan guided his battleships into the middle of the Turkish fleet; meanwhile, many of the Christian slaves had managed to escape their chains and poured out of the holds of the Muslim ships, attacking the Turks and swinging their chains, throwing the Muslims overboard. The combination of the attack by the Catholic fleet and the uprising of the Christian slaves meant that there was a great victory by the Catholics fleet over the mighty Turkish fleet.

We know today that this victory was decisive. It prevented the Islamic invasion of Europe at that time, and it showed the Hand of God working through Our Lady. At the hour of victory, St. Pope Pius V, who was hundreds of miles away in his Papal residence, is said to have gotten up from a meeting, went over to a window, and through supernatural knowledge exclaimed, "The Christian fleet is victorious!" and he wept tears of thanksgiving to God.

This day has been remembered throughout the Church, first as Our Lady of Victory, and then as Our Lady of the Holy Rosary – remembering the victory God granted, and also remembering the means by which that victory was achieved – that it was an intervention by God through the prayers offered by praying the Rosary... perhaps something we might consider in our own generation.


O God, who for the confusion of the enemies of thy Church, and for the restoring of the honour of thy worship, didst appoint thy blessed Saint Pius V to be Chief among thy Pastors: grant that we, being defended by his intercession, may so steadfastly follow after thy commandments, that we may overcome all the devices of our enemies, and rejoice in perpetual peace and security; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

29 April 2012

Shepherd of the sheep

"The Good Shepherd" by Philippe de Champaigne

We know our Lord Jesus Christ as the Good Shepherd. He is the one who lays down His life for the sheep. We know also that the bishops and priests of the Catholic Church are called to bear the image of our Good Shepherd by giving themselves completely over to the service of God and His flock.

But the members of the laity need to remember something related to that. Each one has his own responsibility to be the Good Shepherd’s “good sheep.” Just as the Shepherd leads, so the sheep must follow. And by following the Shepherd faithfully, the sheep will reach pastures of heavenly joy. Good Shepherd Sunday should also be “Good Sheep Sunday,” a reminder that we must daily recommit ourselves to follow Christ, wherever He leads.


Almighty God, who showest to them that be in error the light of thy truth, to the intent that they may return into the way of righteousness: grant unto all them that are admitted into the fellowship of Christ’s religion; that they may forsake those things that are contrary to their profession, and follow all such things as are agreeable to the same; through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

28 April 2012

St. Peter Chanel, Martyr


O Almighty God, by whose grace and power thy holy martyr St. Peter Chanel triumphed over suffering and was faithful even unto death: Grant us, who now remember him with thanksgiving, to be so faithful in our witness to thee in this world, that we may receive with him the crown of life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Excerpted from The One Year Book of Saints by Rev. Clifford Stevens:
On April 18, 1841, a band of native warriors entered the hut of Father Peter Chanel on the island of Futuna in the New Hebrides islands near New Zealand. They clubbed the missionary to death and cut up his body with hatchets. Two years later, the whole island was Catholic. St. Peter Chanel's death bears witness to the ancient axiom that "the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians." He is the first martyr from Oceania, that part of the world spread over the south Pacific, and he came there as the fulfillment of a dream he had had as a boy. Peter was born in 1803 in the diocese of Belley, France. At the age of seven, he was a shepherd boy, but the local parish priest, recognizing something unusual in the boy, convinced his parents to let him study, in a little school the priest had started. From there Peter went on to the seminary, where it was said of him: "He had a heart of gold with the simple faith of a child, and he led the life of an angel." He was ordained a priest and assigned to a parish at Crozet. In three years he had transformed the parish. In 1831, he joined the newly founded Society of Mary, since he had long dreamed of being a missionary; but for five years he was assigned to teach at the seminary in Belley. Finally, in 1836, his dream was realized, and he was sent with other Marists to the islands of the Pacific. He had to suffer great hardships, disappointments, frustration, and almost complete failure as well as the opposition of the local chieftain. The work seemed hopeless: only a few had been baptized, and the chieftain continued to be suspicious and hostile. Then, when the chief's son asked for baptism, the chief was so angry that he sent warriors to kill the missionary. Peter's violent death brought about the conversion of the island, and the people of Futuna remain Catholic to this day. Peter Chanel was beatified in 1889 and canonized in 1954.

26 April 2012

Prayer for the day...


Grant, O Lord, we beseech thee, that we may so live in the Paschal mystery that the joy of these fifty days may continually strengthen us, and assure us of our salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

25 April 2012

St. Mark the Evangelist

O Almighty God, who hast instructed thy holy Church with the heavenly doctrine of thy Evangelist Saint Mark; Give us grace that. being not like children carried away with every blast of vain doctrine, we may be established in the truth of thy holy Gospel; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

24 April 2012

My experience with St. Fidelis

Mark Rey (1577-1622), a member of the Capuchins, was martyred as a result of his efforts in bringing Protestants back to the Catholic Church. He has been a man after my own heart for many, many years. Known now as St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen, April 24th is his feast day. And it was on this day thirty-six years ago that I was ordained as an Anglican priest.

The date had been chosen for the convenience of the ordaining bishop, not because I had any particular devotion (nor any knowledge at that time) of St. Fidelis. I was serving in the Anglican parish of St. Stephen, Southmead in Bristol, England. Having gone there as a deacon, it was decided that my family and I would make a brief visit back to America where my presbyteral ordination could take place so that our wider family could be present. April 24th was the date which the ordaining bishop had available – a date which was more appropriate than I could have imagined at the time.

As I was kneeling before the bishop in St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Providence, Rhode Island, the thought going through my mind was, “I wish he was a Catholic bishop.” I wouldn’t have admitted to anyone at the time that I had such a thought, but it’s true. As I later learned more about St. Fidelis, I am convinced that it was through his intercession that the thought came to me. Even then, at the moment of my Anglican ordination, my feet were set on the path to Rome.

At that time I didn’t know the circumstances of the martyrdom of St. Fidelis. He was devoted to the work of bringing Protestants back to the fullness of the Catholic faith because of the overwhelming Christian love he had for others. He could not bear the thought that there were those who were deprived of the many and wonderful gifts God gives through His Church.

What a marvelous act of charity this was by St. Fidelis, that even from his place in heaven his concern extended to a young man who yearned to be home. I have loved him ever since.

23 April 2012

St. George


O God, who makest us glad with the merits and intercession of Saint George thy Martyr: mercifully grant that we who by his aid implore thy bounty, may by the abundance of thy grace receive the same; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

22 April 2012

"Peace to you."



"...He shows them his wounds - the nail marks in His hands, the wound of the spear in His side. And here, before their eyes, was the fulfilment of what the prophet Isaiah had said so many generations before: 'He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.' Jesus Christ – the Victim of violence, now stands before them as the Prince of Peace, and saying to them 'Peace to you.' This was a peace which the world cannot give. The Hebrew word for peace is 'shalom,' which means more than the simple absence of war and fighting; it means that everything is in its place, everything is in harmony, everything is whole – in fact, this peace is really what 'atonement' – at-one-ment – is. What Jesus accomplished on the Cross is now spoken to the disciples, and to all of us, 'Peace to you.'"


- from today's sermon, based on St. Luke 24:35-48

21 April 2012

Peaceful...

As Jesus said, "Peace to you."  This looks pretty peaceful to me...


Looking across the courtyard between the church and the school.

St. Anselm of Canterbury

"I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this I believe--that unless I believe, I should not understand."
  - St. Anselm of Canterbury, Proslogium, Chapter 1


...and please pray for our brothers and sisters in the Anglican Use Community of St. Anselm, Corpus Christi on this feast day of their Patron.

20 April 2012

Feeding the Five Thousand

The site of Christ's miracle of the Feeding of the Five Thousand is marked by the Church of the Multiplication at Tabgha in Galilee. In addition to actually feeding a huge crowd, the miracle looks back to the feeding of the Children of Israel with manna from heaven as they were on their exodus journey, and it looks forward to the feeding of God's people with the Bread of Heaven.

The Church at Tabgha, showing the stone under the altar, where Christ placed the loaves and fish.
After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. And a multitude followed him, because they saw the signs which he did on those who were diseased. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there sat down with his disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a multitude was coming to him, Jesus said to Philip, "How are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?" This he said to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, "Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little." One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him, "There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what are they among so many?" Jesus said, "Make the people sit down." Now there was much grass in the place; so the men sat down, in number about five thousand. Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, "Gather up the fragments left over, that nothing may be lost." So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten. When the people saw the sign which he had done, they said, "This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world!" Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

- St. John 6:1-15

17 April 2012

That's all there is to it...


Abbreviated Directions for Altar Servers:

1.) if it has a wick, light it.

2.) if in doubt, genuflect.


16 April 2012

Some local scenery...

On my walk after lunch from the rectory back to the church, I passed these beautiful roses along the driveway...

Happy Birthday, Holy Father!

Pope Benedict XVI celebrates his 85th birthday on April 16th. We pray for him in his Apostolic ministry as the Successor of St. Peter.



Watch over thy servant, O Lord, as his days increase; bless and guide him wherever he may be. Strengthen him when he stands; comfort him when discouraged or sorrowful; raise him up if he fall; and in his heart may thy peace which passeth understanding abide all the days of his life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

"...a man of the Pharisees..."



Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do, unless God is with him." Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, `You must be born anew.' The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit."


- St. John 3:1-8

15 April 2012

Into Eastertide...



Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery hast established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ’s body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

14 April 2012

Divine Mercy Plenary Indulgence


On DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY, a plenary indulgence, is granted to the Faithful under the usual conditions:

1.     Sacramental confession (within about 20 days before or after);
2.     Reception of Holy Communion;
3.     Prayer for the intentions of Supreme Pontiff (Our Father and Hail Mary).

and who, on the Second Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday, in any church or chapel, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin:

1.     either take part in the prayers and devotions held in honour of Divine Mercy,

or

2.     who, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus (such as “Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!").


You may obtain the plenary indulgence for yourself, or it may be applied to the soul of one who is departed, but it cannot be obtained for another person still living.

13 April 2012

A Hymn for Eastertide


God our Father, Lord of glory,
Thanks and praise we give to Thee;
In Thy mercy to our fathers,
Thou didst bring them through the sea.
So by water hast Thou saved us,
Now from Adam's sin set free.

Jesus Christ, our Risen Saviour,
Of Thy sacrifice we sing;
As the lamb in ancient myst'ry
To Thy people life didst bring,
So in Eucharistic glory,
Thou, God's Lamb, art made our King.

Holy Spirit, Breath from heaven,
We Thy precious gifts embrace;
At creation all things living
Thou didst sanctify with grace.
So may we, creation's glory,
Be for Thee a dwelling place.

Loving mercy of the Father,
Sacrifice of Christ the Son,
Quick'ning power of the Spirit:
In us let Thy work be done!
May we rise to life eternal,
That our Paschal joy be won.


Text: Fr. Christopher G. Phillips
Tune: "St. Thomas" 8.7.8.7.8.7

11 April 2012

Revealed at Emmaus


Read St. Luke 24:13-35

"And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself."

Notice where Jesus directs the attention of the disciples. Not into themselves. Not to their personal experiences or subjective feelings. He directs them to the revelation of Almighty God. Jesus opens up the Scriptures for them and beginning with the words of Moses and going all the way through the prophets, He shows how His death and resurrection form the rhythm of the Scriptures from the very start.

That's how Jesus turns stubborn hearts that are slow to believe into hearts that burn with faith in Him -- it's through the Scriptures which are preached and taught in their fullness by the Church which Jesus Christ has founded. If our hearts are slow to believe and our minds are dull in the knowledge of God, we have only ourselves to blame for not listening to God’s Word as it’s taught to us by our Holy Mother the Church.

See what the Gospel then tells us. Although their hearts were burning, their eyes were not yet opened. Jesus pretends to go on, but the disciples insist that He join them for supper. It was nearing the end of the day, and evening was coming. They enjoin Him to remain for supper.

Although Jesus was their guest, He sits at the head of the table. He takes the bread, He blesses and breaks it, and He gives it to them. It is an echo of the last meal that Jesus had with His apostles on the night in which He was betrayed. Here again is Jesus, breaking bread. And St. Luke tells us that "their eyes were opened and they recognized Him." In the breaking of the Bread, in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Jesus is recognized and known.

10 April 2012

"...whom seekest thou?"


Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, and seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.

- St. John 20:11-18

09 April 2012

The "Christmas 'n' Easter" crowd


We just came through the time when pastors and the other regulars make the usual observations about the “Christmas ‘n’ Easter” crowd. You can usually tell by the gum-chewing and cell phones and unaccustomed “nicer clothes,” along with the impression that they really don’t quite know what to do with the bulletin that was thrust into their hands. The cursory bobbing before sitting down, looking around to see what everyone else is doing, side-ways chatting when others are praying – these are all clues that church might not be the natural habitat for what seems to be a migratory flock that makes its way through twice a year.

I’ve been known to be guilty of threatening to mark them with ashes on their way in, give them a palm branch before they sit down, and wish them a Merry Easter on their way out. It’s easy to fall into that feeling of righteous indignation when strangers are filling up the place, and the regular crowd is reduced to sitting in folding chairs. “Who do they think keeps this place going when they’re not here?” is the thought in many minds. But I’ve finally gotten over that.

You don’t have to read very far in the Gospels before you see that there were crowds hanging around Jesus fairly often. Not all of them were His followers in any sincere or committed sense. In fact, plenty of them were there just because they thought He might do something amazing, or that He might give them some free bread, or that He might knock the Pharisees down a peg or two. They may have been following Him around because it was kind of a “day out,” a little break from otherwise humdrum lives. But whatever the reason, there were thousands of them. And once in a while – maybe not frequently, but once in a while – someone would stick with it. They’d hear something or they’d see something that would change their lives. Let’s face it, to be hearing and seeing the Incarnate Word of God just might have some sort of good effect on at least a few people.

And that’s what I’m thinking about the “Christmas ‘n’ Easter” crowd. There’s some cord, some string however thin, which pulls them. Sure, it may be some nostalgia on their part. Maybe they think it’s “the thing to do,” and they can then put a check-mark next to it on their “to do” list. But maybe – just maybe – their coming is an attempt to fill a void, to satisfy a hunger they can’t define. At least, that’s what I’m thinking. And so it becomes a marvelous opportunity to give them some real spiritual food.

So no more snarky comments like, “Howdy stranger,” or “Gosh, I thought you’d died.” Just the Gospel. Just the rock-solid Catholic faith in an uncompromisingly Catholic setting. That’s what they need. Not watered down, but not hitting them over the head, either. And you know what? Some of them will stick.

08 April 2012

Alleluia!


On Shrove Tuesday the Alleluia was "buried" in its coffin, but it is now once more alive with our celebration of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ!

07 April 2012

The Resurrection of Our Lord


O God, who for our redemption didst give thine only-begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection hast delivered us from the power of our enemy: Grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through the same thy Son Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God; now and for ever. Amen.

Easter Even



GRANT, O Lord, that as we are baptized into the death of thy blessed Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, so by continual mortifying our corrupt affections we may be buried with him; and that through the grave, and gate of death, we may pass to our joyful resurrection; for his merits, who died, and was buried, and rose again for us, thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Good Friday








06 April 2012

Venerating the True Cross...


The Relic of the True Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ is venerated during the Solemn Liturgy of Good Friday.

05 April 2012

04 April 2012

Questions, questions...

It’s fascinating to see what fascinates kids.

Today being Spy Wednesday, I had to plan on using all of the reserved Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle so we’d be ready for the one Mass on Maundy Thursday, which requires that the tabernacle is empty. It’s not a particularly easy calculation, and by the time we got through about three-quarters of the communicants, it was obvious that we needed to break the people’s hosts in half. By the end of the communicants’ line, I had only half a host left. (Whew! cutting it close!).

What fascinated the boys who were serving wasn’t that we’d managed to administer four hundred communions with lots fewer hosts than that. No, what they wanted to know was, “Why?” In fact, I engaged in quite a lengthy conversation with a couple of the boys, explaining what we’d be doing on Maundy Thursday, how I would be consecrating enough hosts for that Mass, and also for the Solemn Liturgy on Good Friday. They remembered the empty tabernacle from last year, but hadn’t known why that was. So there were more questions, until I finally had to tell them, “Hey, you’re going to be late for class!”

I hope that’s not why they were asking so many questions…

Tenebrae

All is ready for the first service of the Sacred Triduum, with the chanting of Tenebrae this evening. In addition to all the other ceremonies of the season, we have (for the past thirty years) chanted Tenebrae on the eve of each of the three days. The psalms become almost hypnotic. The gradual extinguishing of the candles is a visual reminder of the death of Christ. The readings take us back to those events in Jerusalem, and all that led to them.

From the first antiphon we chant this evening, to the final prayer we offer on Friday night, Tenebrae provides a path into the Passion of Christ.

Spy Wednesday


Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, "What will you give me if I deliver him to you?" And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him. Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?" He said, "Go into the city to a certain one, and say to him, `The Teacher says, My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.'" And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover. When it was evening, he sat at table with the twelve disciples; and as they were eating, he said, "Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me." And they were very sorrowful, and began to say to him one after another, "Is it I, Lord?" He answered, "He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me, will betray me. The Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born." Judas, who betrayed him, said, "Is it I, Master?" He said to him, "You have said so."
-Matthew 26:14-25
Elsewhere the Gospel tells us that Satan entered into Judas, but even before this, Judas had shown himself to be dishonest and a lover of money. He kept the money box which was used for the needs of Jesus and the disciples, but he was accustomed to taking money out for himself. When the expensive perfume was used to anoint Jesus, he complained that it could have been sold and the money given to the poor – although he was more likely thinking that he could take the money himself. And now, he goes to the chief priests and asks what they would give him if he delivered Jesus to them. The bargain was struck: thirty silver pieces for the Son of God.

Could the betrayal by Judas have been because of something as common and low as his love for money? Certainly, it looks that way. There could have been other reasons – some have said that he was trying to force Christ into revealing himself as the Messiah. Some have said that Judas was jealous of all the other disciples and so wanted to do something to ruin their common life together. But if Judas betrayed Jesus for those reasons, why did he ask for money when he went to the high priests? He could have handed Jesus over to them without asking for money.

No, Judas was a lover of money, a worldly man who was looking for personal gain. As St. Paul wrote to St. Timothy, “The love of money is the root of all evil.” And this, no doubt, was an evil act. When Judas approached Jesus in the garden, our Lord asked him, “Judas would you betray the Son of man with a kiss?” Judas had given his betraying kiss before, when he took money into his filthy hands, caressing it as a lover would his beloved.

Spy Wednesday serves as a reminder to us, too, that we can betray Christ for common, low things. We tend to think about our own wants before we think of Christ. We sometimes spend time trying to get things for ourselves while forgetting the needs of others. When we put things before what we owe to God, we’re betraying Christ. When we’re cruel or when we bully someone weaker than we are, we’re betraying Christ. When we delight in gossip, we’re betraying Christ. When we cheat someone, or when we take something which isn’t ours, we’re betraying Christ. When we use foul language, speaking filthy words from the same mouth in which we receive the Body of Christ, we’re betraying Him.

We’re horrified by what Judas did. But we need to look at our own lives, too, lest we are betraying Jesus.

O Lord God, whose blessed Son our Saviour gave his back to the smiters and hid not his face from shame: Grant us grace to take joyfully the sufferings of the present time, in full assurance of the glory that shall be revealed; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

03 April 2012

Tuesday of Holy Week


O LORD God, whose blessed Son, our Saviour, gave his back to the smiters and hid not his face from shame; Grant us grace to take joyfully the sufferings of the present time, in full assurance of the glory that shall be revealed; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

02 April 2012

Our special window


Blessed John Paul II died seven years ago today.

My greatest memory is of the day in 1983 when I was privileged to concelebrate Mass with him in his papal chapel, and meet him afterwards. When I asked if I could take his blessing back to my family and the parish, he embraced me and said, "With all my heart, I bless you and your people."

His blessing has stuck!

The window pictured above was made and installed in the church to commemorate the event.

Monday in Holy Week


ALMIGHTY God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified; Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.